123 migrants found trapped in a trailer in central Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Authorities found 123 Central and South American migrants trapped in a trailer in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico's immigration agency said Thursday.

Officials from the state attorney general's office found the migrants in Matehuala, a city on the border of Nuevo Leon, on Wednesday after a local reported hearing cries for help from a locked trailer box.

The majority of migrants rescued were from the Central American nations of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, as well as four from Ecuador and one Cuban, according to Mexico's National Immigration Institute. Among them were 34 children.

The immigration agency did not say how the migrants came to be stuck there nor where they were heading, but such groups of migrants typically hope to reach the United States.

The same day police in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas arrested three alleged human smugglers after finding 11 Guatemalan migrants trapped in a house, according to the Chihuahua state security department.

Chihuahua’s Attorney General has opened an investigation into the suspects, two of whom are just 16 years old.

Kidnapping and extortion are familiar dangers for migrants travelling north through Mexico, many of whom rely on payments to local gangs for safe passage.

On Wednesday, a caravan of migrants walking from Guatemala blocked a highway near the southern town of Huixtla in Chiapas, saying they feared they would come under attack by criminals if they kept walking. They continued blocking the highway Thursday, hoping to pressure Mexican authorities to give them temporary documents allowing them to travel to the U.S. border.

Both the U.S. and Mexico's southern borders have faced ever larger numbers of migrants travelling north this year. More than 400,000 have crossed the Darien Gap from Colombia into Panama in 2023, according to Panamanian government data, up from 250,000 in 2022.